Health Care Professional Licensing
The state licensing process is designed to make sure that qualified individuals are providing critical services, such as health care services. However, health care professionals sometimes lose their licenses due to professional misconduct, such as practicing under the influence of drugs or alcohol, engaging in acts of negligence, failing to return records on request, practicing beyond the scope of their profession, abandoning a patient who needed immediate care, charging for work not performed, or performing unauthorized services. If you are facing the potential loss of your license, you should consult an attorney who is experienced in handling administrative actions. Peter Katz is a Manhattan professional licensing lawyer who is ready to advocate for you. Throughout his career, he has helped individuals and small businesses navigate the complex issues associated with board administrative actions, as well as lawsuits and criminal investigations in the health care field.
The Office of Professional Medical Conduct and the State Board for Professional Medical Conduct administer the New York health care professional discipline program. The mission of the program is to protect the public from incompetence, medical negligence, and professional misconduct. The Office of Professional Medical Conduct investigates issues concerning physicians, physician assistants, and specialist assistants.Investigations of Complaints Against Health Care Professionals
The doctor discipline program in New York is governed by the Public Health Law (PHL) and the Education Law (EL). The process of doctor discipline is set forth under section 230 of the PHL. Misconduct is defined in sections 6530-6531 of the EL. The Office of Professional Medical Conduct is the branch of the New York State Department of Health that takes responsibility for investigating and prosecuting complaints brought against health care professionals, and it must review every complaint that it receives. You should consult a professional licensing attorney in Manhattan or elsewhere in New York City as soon as you find out that you are the subject of a complaint.
The review will look at whether the subject of the complaint is a doctor (or other covered health care professional) and whether an allegation, if true, is considered medical misconduct. A percentage of complaints move forward for further investigations, and in some cases, the Office of Professional Medical Conduct refers complaints to other agencies. Sometimes investigations are opened as a result of a media report or referral, rather than a specific complaint.
The investigation will involve gathering and analyzing relevant information, including medical records and interviews, to determine whether the available evidence supports a claim of misconduct. Under the Public Health Law, the name of the person making the complaint is supposed to be kept confidential, and the fact that an investigation is underway remains confidential until the investigation is completed.
As a licensed doctor, you should receive due process throughout the proceedings. You have a right to submit relevant information. The Office should give you an opportunity for an interview to comment on the relevant issues. You can have an attorney present, and it is wise to retain a Manhattan professional licensing attorney to represent you in this matter, since it may affect your earning potential and reputation for the rest of your life.
If there is not enough evidence to move forward, the case will not be referred to the Board. However, the Board has the authority to take several important steps. Among other things, it can direct a doctor to submit to a psychiatric or medical examination. It can direct the Office of Professional Medical Conduct to get medical records or other health information related to the doctor’s mental or physical condition. It can also require a doctor to take a clinical competency exam.Penalties for Violations
When a violation is minor, the penalty may be merely an administrative warning. Sometimes, if a physician is found guilty of professional misconduct, a censure and reprimand will be issued. Probation may be imposed, such that there are certain restrictions on the physician’s ability to practice medicine. However, a disciplinary action can also result in a suspension, revocation, or termination of a professional license. In turn, these actions can result in denials of jobs or promotions. When a license is suspended, the licensee cannot practice medicine for a certain length of time, or even an indefinite period, until certain criteria are satisfied. Serious misconduct can result in the permanent revocation of a doctor’s medical license.Appeals
If you are found guilty of professional misconduct, you can appeal to the Administrative Review Board. After that stage, your recourse is to appeal the Administrative Review Board’s decision to the New York state courts, assuming that all of your administrative remedies have been exhausted.Contact an Experienced Professional Licensing Lawyer in Manhattan
Peter Katz has successfully represented health care clients for years and has vast experience assisting all kinds of medical providers, including doctors, nurses, pharmacists, technicians, and hospitals. He is a skillful, experienced advocate who is ready to help you protect your license. Call us for a free consultation at (609) 734-4380 or (212) 933-9323 or contact us via our online form.